11Alive showed body camera of the April 12 incident to a former Gwinnett officer turned attorney. He believes the video shows proper procedures being followed.
ATLANTA — After 35-year-old Matthew Zadok Williams was shot and killed by DeKalb County Police on Monday, his family met with the county’s police chief Thursday to see body camera video of the incident.
On Friday, the police department released the video to 11Alive News.
The video shows officers encountering Williams, who a neighbor had reported as a prowler with a knife.
“Hey what’s up, man? What are you doing around here? You live here?” an officer said to Williams on the video.
In the video, Williams is seen with a blue-colored knife, according to DeKalb Police, and then lunges at an officer before an officer shoots at Williams.
His family doesn’t blame officers for their actions to this point.
“My brother was in a mental health crisis,” Williams’ sister Hannah Williams said Thursday after seeing the video. “He lunged at the police officer. We have compassion for that police officer and how he felt in that moment.”
Williams then retreats into his home.
“Please come out for us man, what’s the problem, how can I help you?” an officer is heard saying on the body camera video.
11Alive showed the video to Mike Puglise, a former Gwinnett Police officer turned attorney.
“These officers approach it with caution,” he said after watching the footage. “They didn’t go in there like gang bangers looking to promote violence. They were there to try to deescalate it.”
Puglise said officers needed to get into the home once Williams was inside it because they couldn’t have known the scope of the situation.
“Is there any other individuals inside that house? Is he by himself? Why is he inside that house? All they know is we have an aggressive individual. He has lunged at one of our officers,” Puglise said.
Williams family believes at this point officers should have backed off and called a crisis negotiator.
“They kicked the door down he kept repeatedly telling them this is my house,” Williams’ sister said.
But Puglise said in his opinion given the details seen in the video, officers didn’t have time to spare.
Officers are next seen kicking in the door to the home.
“You’re a black man. I’m a black man. You don’t have to die today. I don’t want you to die today,” an officer yells to Williams.
Moments later DeKalb Police tell 11Alive Williams again lunged at an officer while holding a knife and he is shot at again.
“It was quite simple the individual was going to hurt someone he didn’t want to come out of that house,” Puglise said.
He added how the situation ended was tragic, but he believes officers followed proper de-escalation procedures.
In total, officers can be heard ordering Williams to drop his knife a total of 47 times.